Long term planning and family plans collided in the trade market on Sunday.
The Seattle Kraken swung a deal that was much anticipated for a weeks, trading captain and pending unrestricted free agent Mark Giordano. The destination: his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, also acquiring forward Colin Blackwell in exchange for draft capital. The Kraken will get two second round NHL Entry Draft picks, one each this year and next year, and a third round pick in the 2024 draft.
The Kraken will also reportedly retain half of Giordano’s salary (estimated $6.75 million average annual value), coming off their books at the end of the season and helping consummate the deal with the Leafs, who were up against the cap limit.
“As the organization’s first captain, he made an immediate and lasting impact both on and off the ice,” said Kraken general manager Ron Francis in a team statement.
“He is a consummate professional and we appreciate his effort and leadership to help establish a culture here.”
Giordano, 38, was named first captain in Kraken history, second among Kraken defensemen with 23 points while chipping in with six goals in 55 games and is taking 16 years and 1,004 games of NHL experience to the Maple Leafs, a point back of second place Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division.
Giordano, who crossed the 1,000 NHL games milestone at Washington on Mar. 5, will also be on his way to chasing a Stanley Cup title, an achievement still pending for his resume. The Leafs, pursuing their first Stanley Cup title since 1967, are on the cusp of their sixth straight playoff berth and looking to get past the first round for the first time since 2003-04.
The native of Toronto, who won the Norris Trophy in 2018-19, will also get an opportunity to suit up in his hometown colors, nearby where family including his parents, Paul and Anna reside. Giordano said he spent the previous road trip, when the Kraken were in Toronto on Mar. 8, at his parents’ house where his mother, Anna, prepared a homecooked meal.
“This is a great move for family and for him growing up in Toronto,” said Mark’s father, Paul Giordano. “He can now play together with my daughter’s kids.
“We can be together as a family.”
Blackwell, 28, moves onto his fourth NHL team after stops in Seattle, Nashville and before last summer’s expansion draft with the New York Rangers. The 5-foot-9, 190 pound forward, known for an energy role with a touch of offense, is four goals off his career high (12) set last season, and has 17 points in 39 games this year.
The Kraken also add to a stash of draft picks expected to play a role in long term roster build at their NHL and AHL levels, including the Coachella Valley Firebirds who will start play next season nearby Palm Springs, Calif. In the meantime, the Kraken had been sharing an affiliation with the Florida Panthers, stashing several prospects with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.
"We appreciate the energy, passion and hard work that Colin brought to the rink every day and we wish him the best in Toronto," said Francis.
Across the first and second rounds, the Kraken will now select four times in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft, and over the next three years will pick ten times in those first pair of rounds.
The NHL trade deadline will conclude Noon PT on Monday.